American Express ditches contactless keyring

American Express ditches contactless keyring

American Express is discontinuing its Express Pay contactless payments key fob following poor customer take-up of the device.

The chip-based keyring attachment, which the card issuer first began trialling in Phoenix in 2002, uses radio frequency identifier technology to transmit payment instructions to merchant terminals.

An American Express spokeswoman told Finextra that take up of the key fob was limited and showed that customers prefer to use contactless technology via a traditional card.

American Express hasn't stated how many customers use the device, but the key fobs have only been available in selected markets - including New York and Phoenix - and through the company's Web site.

The card issuer is now sending letters informing customers that key fobs will be deactivated on a rolling time frame with the programme ended by 31 July.

Although Amex is discontinuing the keyring appliance other firms are still pushing the devices.

Last October Visa launched its Micro Tag, a chip-based keyring attachment embedded with its payWave contactless technology that can be used instead of cards to pay for low value purchases. Meanwhile keyfobs featuring Mastercard's contactless system, PayPass, are also available to Citibank cardholders.

In addition, Royal Bank of Canada's credit cardholders have been using Speedpass keyrings to pay for purchases at ExxonMobil petrol stations since 2001. The device transmits payment instructions to specially fitted terminals at ExxonMobil petrol stations in Canada. RBC rolled out the fobs to its debit cardholders last year.

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